READ: Review of “Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia” by John DeFerrari on Streets of Washington

“They called him the Sage of Anacostia. He was a celebrity, well off and widely respected. Yet Douglass’s story during his Washington DC years is one of ambivalence about his prominence, even occasional discomfort. There’s no doubt that he sought positions of influence and, as Muller points out, was sometimes criticized for his political ambitions. Yet he was prone to doubting his own abilities—or maybe he just wanted to avoid being drawn too far into the system. He turned down an opportunity to run for the U.S. Senate, as he did an offer of the presidency of Howard University. How could a man who never had any formal education be president of a university, he reasoned. It’s also striking to see his apparent perplexity about the backlash over his marriage to Helen Pitts. —Had he not realized that his life was no longer his own at that point, that he was obliged to embrace the constraints of his public image rather than make his own personal choices? For a man who had so famously overcome slavery, the subtler bonds of his successful later years must have presented very real challenges of a different sort.”

Full review HERE!

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  1. #1 by Julie on September 26, 2012 - 8:51 pm

    Great review!! Looking forward to the book!

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